A frustrating afternoon for the Dons in Perth as St Johnstone rescued a draw from a game they could have lost four times over in the first half, doing so despite going down to nine men for the last dozen minutes.
It was a historic day for the Dons in Perth as Andrew Considine clocked up game number 500 of his Aberdeen career, following Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, Bobby Clark, Stewart McKimmie and Jim Leighton to the milestone. Andrew was named captain for the game and was given a guard of honour by his teammates.
With the Dons looking to increase the two point gap between them and Motherwell in fourth place, Derek McInnes made just one change to the starting XI that beat Ross County in the previous game before the international break, Curtis Main coming in for Craig Bryson who moved to the bench.
Following their 4-1 home defeat to Hibs before the break, bottom of the table St Johnstone made just one change to their starting line-up, Jason Holt coming in for David Wotherspoon.
It was a quiet opening to the game in front of a sparsely populated stadium, especially in the home areas, the travelling Red Army out in force as ever. St Johnstone won a couple of early corners that came to nothing, but the hosts started with a confidence belying their lowly league position.
It was the Dons who almost scored first in the 11th minute, Niall McGinn's deflected cross looping up for Shay Logan who smashed a first time left foot shot at goal from 12 yards, Clark doing well to clear the ball away with his feet. The keeper reacted well as he would have seen the shot very late.
In truth, both sides were struggling to shrug off the ring rustiness after the international break but Sam Cosgrove found his shooting boots in the 21st minute to put Aberdeen ahead. It came from a long ball forward by Joe Lewis, Ryan Hedges cushioning the ball down for Sam who controlled the ball and sent the defender the wrong way in one clever movement, before drilling in a low drive from 25 yards that bulleted into the bottom corner, Clark nowhere near it. Goal 17 of Cosgrove's season.
It should have been two in the 24th minute, McGinn screwing a shot from Main's knockdown across the face of goal and wide from close range, though referee Clancy should surely have pointed to the spot for a blatant handball from Duffy as he went up for the ball with Curtis Main when the initial cross came in from Hedges.
St Johnstone tried their best to get back into the game and enjoyed a good spell of possession around the half hour mark, but despite putting a number of balls into the Aberdeen area, the defence dealt with it without any alarms, Lewis continuing to enjoy a pretty quiet first half.
Shay Logan became the first player in the book in the 38th minute, a fraction late with his challenge on Kennedy. Following the free-kick, Kennedy was able to sling another cross in, but it was straightforward again for Lewis to collect. Kennedy was though starting to cause problems for the Dons on the left though.
Aberdeen came close once more in the 40th minute, Cosgrove doing well to square the ball at the byline, Main coming onto it in the six yard box, the ball bobbling up off his shin and flying up and over the bar, another let off for Saints.
Holt went in the book in the 42nd minute after manhandling Lewis Ferguson, Duffy swiftly following him for poleaxing Cosgrove on halfway, the last meaningful action of a first half that was decidedly low-key.
HALF-TIME: ST JOHNSTONE 0 ABERDEEN 1
The second half opened in the same vein, the hosts huffing and puffing without asking any real questions. Aberdeen made an early change in the 53rd minute, Main replaced by Bryson. Straight after the substitution, the Dons almost scored, a low ball in from Considine through the box causing chaos between the Saints defenders, but there was nobody on hand to apply the finishing touch.
The much needed second goal almost came in the 56th minute, McGinn standing the ball up to the back post, Cosgrove getting above two defenders to head just a fraction wide. Kane replaced Holt three minutes later as the hosts tried to give the Dons some fresh problems with two up top.
Hedges had a half-chance in the 64th minute, firing over on the turn from the edge of the box after good work from Cosgrove and McGinn created a shooting opportunity for him. Saints had a similar effort from Wright in the 68th minute, firing over from slightly further out.
Both managers looked to inject some life into a scrappy afternoon straight away, Jon Gallagher replacing Hedges for the Dons, May replaced by Hendry for St Johnstone.
It worked the trick for Saints, for in the 71st minute, they were on terms, Kennedy getting a bit of fortune with the bounce before playing a one-two with Kane and slotting home past Lewis, a very composed finish. It could have been worse two minutes later, Kennedy in again, his shot taking a wicked deflection off Devlin that spooned up, Lewis back pedalling to tip the ball over the bar.
The game changed again in the 74th minute, a really poor challenge from Davidson leaving Bryson in a heap, the Saints man getting a straight red card. Fortunately, Craig was able to get back to his feet. Aberdeen responded by bringing on Bruce Anderson for Greg Leigh. Bryson then found his way into the book for a tackle on Kane.
Saints had lost their composure now and Hendry was also off to the showers in the 77th minute for a lunge on Ferguson, the Dons midfielder booked for his reaction.
The Dons were on the front foot now and won their first corner in the 79th minute, Kennedy replaced by Wotherspoon as we waited to take the kick. McGinn knocked it deep to the back post, the ball directed back to Devlin, his looping cross clutched comfortably by Clark.
Aberdeen kept piling forward in search of the winner but St Johnstone put all nine men behind the ball as we played attack v defence. It was the unlikely figure of Devlin who almost broke the deadlock, a curling shot from 25 yards well saved by Clark at full stretch in the 86th minute. From the corner, Considine got on the end of it, Clark somehow scooping the ball over from underneath his bar. With almost everybody bar Lewis pretty much camped in the Saints box, there was barely an inch of space to be had.
Ferguson was next to try his luck from distance in the 89th minute, Clark clawing it away low to his right. The Dons then won a free-kick 30 yards out, Wotherspoon carded for kicking the ball away. McGinn stood over it and got it over the wall, but Clark plucked the ball out of the air with ease.
With only four minutes added on, still the Dons pressed, and a 93rd minute scramble somehow saw the ball stay out, Clark making a terrific save from Cosgrove, Logan flashing the ball across goal and wide, then a minute later, a Considine header bobbled just behind as the game ended in huge frustration for Aberdeen.